Great Barrier Reef : Heaven Under Water

Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres.

The Great Barrier Reef is a site of 
remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It the world's most extensive stretch of coral reef and is probably the richest area in terms of faunal diversity in the world. Its great diversity reflects the maturity of an ecosystem which has evolved over millions of years on the north-east continental shelf of Australia. The site contains a huge diversity of species including over 1,500 species of fish, about 360 species of hard coral, 5,000 species of mollusc, and more than 175 species of bird, plus a great diversity of sponges, anemones, marine worms and crustaceans, among others.

Due to its vast biodiversity, warm clear waters and accessibility from the tourist boats called "live aboards", the reef is a very popular destination, especially for scuba divers. Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef is concentrated in the Whitsundays and Cairns due to their accessibility. These areas make up 7% of the Park's area. The Whitsundays and Cairns have their own Plans of Management. Many cities along the Queensland coast offer daily boat trips. Several continental and coral cay islands are now resorts, including the pristine Lad Elliot Island.

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